"Wayward #28" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Jim Zub
Illustrated by Steven Cummings
Colored by Tamra Bonvillain
Lettered by Marshall Dillon
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on August 29th, 2018
Nurarihyon, the leader of the Yokai, is getting desperate. He's summoned a literal demon from Hell called an Oni to fight in his battle against Rori Lane and the other new gods of Japan. This monster is wreaking havoc in the city and it's making a beeline for the kids. They're forced to split up to tackle two tasks at once. They have to stop this creature and put an end to the Yokai's plans once and for all.
If you get the sense that this is building up to a monumental showdown, you are correct. Wayward is approaching its final issue and the tension could not be greater. I imagined a powerful soundtrack booming in the background while reading this issue. Writer Jim Zub has paced this perfectly.
A chunk of this issue includes a fight between the Oni and Nikaido and Emi. This is an incredible battle that shows just how unstoppable this demon is. It can take everything that's thrown at it with a smile, reveling in the destruction and death it's causing. Emi's ability to manipulate manmade objects is put to good use, as she essentially becomes to city around the Oni, moving steel and concrete like they were Playdoh to create massive hands to pummel the beast.
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Artist Steven Cummings does a fantastic job with this scene – and the whole series altogether to be honest – as you can feel the blockbuster level energy at work here. When you look at the Oni, there's a faint glimmer of the man it once was underneath, particularly in the face. It's not quite human, but you can see how it once was, which makes it a far more unsettling monster.
This also comes through in Marshall Dillon's letters. The Oni's dialogue is larger and bolder than everyone else's, giving the impression of a booming voice. The word balloons are in rough shapes too. It all adds to the monstrous quality of this creature.
This is a doomsday type battle we're talking about. Tamra Bonvillain's colors give the sense of hopelessness, like the fight was lost before Emi and Nikaido even entered the ring. The one shining light in all this is Nikaido, who is a literal shining light now. After his death he's come back changed, with electric blue hair, shimmering like fire. He bursts onto the scene with such power and energy.
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This is just half of the action and excitement from Wayward #28. While all this is going on, Rori is leading the rest of the gang to the Yokai's headquarters to remove their power for good. This is no easy task, as they're confronted by goblin-like creatures in the subways. Both sides of the story are just as intense.
Wayward is not slowing down at all. It's steaming forward towards an incredible climax with monsters all around. If this issue is any indication, we're in for some epic supernatural battles to close out the series. This is bittersweet, as I don't want to see it end, but so far it's been a monumental journey. Wayward was pitched as “Buffy set in Japan” and it's grown so far beyond that. This is an immersive experience steeped in terrifying folklore.